Let’s Bust that Stress!

At times it becomes difficult to cope with the fast paced world that we live in and it results in a lot of mental pressure and fatigue, something that we might want to identify as stress. The Oxford dictionary alludes to stress being “a mental state” of strain or tension resulting from “adverse or demanding circumstances”. Do note the two major aspects of stress mentioned – it is a state of mind and your circumstances or rather events that are outside you, play a major role in creating that state. When you have identified that you are undergoing stress, you need to realise that you have two options before you – either work on your mind and cope with the “demanding circumstance” or sort out the circumstance(s) and eliminate its demanding nature. This process of working on eradicating/controlling stress is what one could consider as stress management.

Unfortunately, many among us do not realise the stress factors around us and choose to engage with stress busters that appear convenient but could threaten our physical and psychological well-being. Smoking, substance abuse, irregular sleeping/eating habits, social withdrawals, being immersed in the virtual world of social media, etc. through devices such as mobile phones and thereby “zoning out” for hours on end, are just few of the many unhealthy stress-busters some of us may engage with. On the other hand, positive stress-busters could involve eating healthy, working out (within your own limits), hanging out with friends once in a while, going out for a walk/movie, engaging with activities that could feed your morale (social/spiritual works), catching up with family, planning a trip (solo or otherwise), and so on.

Maintaining a stress journal would be an excellent way to map out the patterns in your life that causes stress. You could keep a full-fledged journal that would record three basic aspects of your stress – “What caused my stress? How did I respond/react to it? What did I do to make myself feel better?”. If not, you could also simply write down all the factors responsible for your stress on a piece of paper. Listing them out could work on a cathartic basis and relieve you. Yes, it works – simply writing those down could sort out your stress to a substantial degree.

Another pragmatic solution to clearing your stress factors would be to classify them based on their relevance to your routine life. Once you have listed out your stress factors (based on the previously mentioned tactic), you can classify them using the table provided here. While quadrant 1 might contain urgent and important tasks such as completing a task whose due date is round the corner, quadrant 4 would contain the least significant aspects of your life (which would require your attention nonetheless, at some later stage). Engaging in this activity could help you clear your mind from all the chaos, create the necessary order, and help you think clearly and release the unnecessary burdens and worries, and the subsequent stress.

Nevertheless, there could be situations in which managing your stress becomes a futile activity because of your inability to either manage your mind and think right, or because your circumstances are more than demanding. This could occur due to various reasons, including, losing a loved one, personal tragedies, a paradigm shift in your life-style, and so on. You know yourself the best. If these stress-factors are causing your discomfort in attending to your routine life, perhaps you need to seek professional help from a trained counsellor. Such sessions could help you identify your stress-response patterns and aid you in getting a fresh perspective(s) on life and your problems, and would eventually help you bust that stress.  

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